It is a truth universally acknowledged that a history student who has to prepare not one but THREE presentations for the week to come must be in want of procrastination! So instead of hitting the books I’m going to HIT THE BOOKS! (pun intended!)
There is this book I’ve been meaning to talk about for, like, ever because it is beautiful and wondrous and magical. It’s The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell. I didn’t even need the blurb to fall in love with it, the mere idea of a book about bookstores sounded appealing to me, and I didn’t care whether it was a novel or a manga comic or a documentary – I JUST NEEDED THAT!
«Every bookshop has a story.
We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses and in old run-down railway stations.
From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book explores the history of books, talkst o authors about their favourite places, and looks at more than three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents. (Sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).
This book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.»
I bought this book last year on Valentine’s Day, and I even had it gift wrapped at the store. Put that way it sounds so much sadder than it really is – I unwrapped it that night while stuffing myself with Chocolate and watching Friends, and it was THE BEST NIGHT EVER! I’m not even kidding, I ended up reading until, like, 1 in the morning, and it hasn’t left my bedside table since.
The author doesn’t just list bookshops from different countries, she writes about the story behind each store and the owners. It’s not only interesting, it’s also strangely touching, I actually cried a number of times out of happiness that people still found bookshops. (I have literally no control over my tears!). But there’s more: The book also contains interviews with authors and bookish facts (like the fact that Wendy used to be a boy’s name) and double pages labelled with Some Wonderful Things. IT’S A FRIGGIN´ TREASURE CHEST OF BEAUTIFULNESS!
This book also serves as a super cool travel guide. Searching for bookshops wherever you go, takes you on a tiny adventure into parts of a town you might not otherwise discover. (apologies to Inga who was being dragged all the way across Edinburgh last year, just to find the place where J.K. Rowling once shopped!) So far, The Bookshop Book has not let me down, and just for the hell of it, I thought I´d tell you about my four favourite bookshops so far:
Daunt Books, London
«After quitting his job and considering his main interests in life (reading and travelling), he [James Daunt] founded Daunt Books and opened their first branch in 1990. […] My favorite part of the bookshop in the Marylebone branch is downstairs, where they’ve arranged translated novels and poetry collections by country of origin.»
The Edinburgh Bookshop, Edinburgh
«I soon learned that parents would leave their children in the shop and disappear across the road to Tesco; that toddlers thought themselves ninjas and would try to climb the shelves; that middle-aged women would break down in tears if we didn’t have the latest Twilight book in stock. This is all part of the job.»
P & G Wells, Winchester
«P&G Wells is the oldest bookshop in the UK still trading. In fact, receipts have been found dating back to 1729, detailing the local college’s purchases of a latin grammar book (9d), paper (4d), an article book (3d) and an inkhorn (4d). Only half the bill was paid, which seems to have been common practice back then, and made it very difficult for retail business to stay afloat: almost everything was paid on account.»
Mr. B´s Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath
«Nic Bottomley and his wife Juliette were lawyers in London and Prague. On their honeymoon, they talked about what they wanted to do in the future and, both being book-lovers, both a little sick of law, they decided to open a bookshop.»
In just over a week I will have a look at Jen Campbell’s favourite bookshop in Berlin: Berlin Story! If it is as amazing as The Bookshop Book promises (and I have no doubt that it will be), I will, of course, dedicate a blog post to my shopping experience!
Let’s not forget that Jen Campbell also has her own Youtube channel, and her videos are pure lovelines! Go, check it out!
What is your favourite bookshop?
Lots of love from the roots of my heart!